Risk/Reward: Investing in Women Pays Dividends

We often hear "You have to be willing to take risks" in business, sports and life. Risk / Reward is the ratio used by many investors to compare the expected returns of an investment to the amount of risk undertaken to capture these returns. This formula has already proven successful this week at the KPMG Woman's PGA Championship held at Westchester Country Club. LPGA Commissioner Mike Wahn, PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua and KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer took a risk in joining together to reimagine a major and the second-longest running tournament in the history of the LPGA and take it to another level. It marks the first time the PGA of America has had significant involvement in a ladies event. With this participation comes increased exposure through a partnership with NBC, providing national TV coverage of the last two rounds, and the $3.5 million purse, one of the largest in woman's golf.

They did not stop there. The creation of this unprecedented event for woman's golf also provided a platform to empower and elevate women beyond the tournament and reach out to business women and those in route to the C suite. The KPMG Women's Leadership Summit was a full day event with leaders sharing experience and advice that reinforced woman's leadership and those championing it no matter the gender. The cast of leaders at the KPMG Woman's Leadership Summit read like a who's who of business, golf and accomplishment. The speakers and panelists that participated included the 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Duke Energy President and CEO Lynn Good, KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer; KPMG U.S. Chairman and CEO-elect Lynne Doughtie; ESPN SportsCenter anchor Linda Cohn; former NBC Sports and Olympics executive Dick Ebersol; Frontier Communications Executive Chairman Maggie Wilderotter; Thomson Reuters President and CEO Jim Smith; Mellon Capital (part of BNY Mellon) Chairman, President and CEO Gabriela Franco Parcella; Nasdaq President Adena Friedman; LPGA Tour champion golfer Stacy Lewis; Notre Dame Head Women's Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw; LPGA Hall of Fame golfer and entrepreneur Annika Sorenstam; Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon; and KPMG Partner and Board member Kelly Watson.

No stranger to the measurement of risk and reward, President of Nasdaq Adena Friedman noted "There is a spot for both genders and the awareness created by these events helps to get more females in business."

"Nothing speaks more powerfully about the importance of the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit than the commitment of a remarkable group of leaders whose presence at the summit will inspire and empower the next generation of women leaders," said Veihmeyer. "These individuals have broken glass ceilings and blazed trails in their respective fields, and KPMG is excited about working with them to help make that a reality for a new generation of leaders."

Perhaps no one in our time exemplifies breaking glass ceilings and taking risks better than Condoleezza Rice. Her passion and perseverance for everything from piano to politics is inspiring. As an avid golfer, with an 11.5 index and one of two women chosen to be the first female members of Augusta National she shines as a role model for everyone but particularly women. Rice commented: "It is critically important for the American business community to advance more women into the C-suite. I am proud to stand with KPMG and other influential leaders as we work together to galvanize a new generation of women to move forward with confidence at the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit."

Annika Sorenstam added "Initiatives like these and having influential women to spread the word will help create the change." As far as golf and getting women involved in golf she notes "It doesn't have to be intimidating and women should surround themselves with people that make it comfortable for them to learn and encourage women to try."

While these messages were clearly intended to inspire and elevate future generations the investment is paying dividends in the present.